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Romney 8, U.s. 7, Colorado 7, Macon 6, America 5, Nevada 5, Aleppo 4, Cbs News 4, Georgia 4, Syria 4, Afghanistan 4, Obama 4, Rodriguez 4, Bonnie 3, Jeff 3, Clyde 3, Advil 2, Clemson 2, Damascus 2, Cbs 2,
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  NBC    News 4 at 6    News  News/Business. New. (CC)  

    September 30, 2012
    6:00 - 6:30pm EDT  

>> jeff: tonight three days to go. president obama and mitt romney make final preparations for the first presidential debate. nancy cordes is on the trail if las vegas. >> i was a steelworker for 30 years. >> jeff: sick of political ads? barry petersen in california reports on a referendum trying to limit them. mandarin chinese, the world's most spoken language now required in one american school district. mark strassman goes to class. >> what is the word for hello. >> niho. >> and fighting chance, a decorated combat veteran overcomes his battle scars, fulfilling a dream on the football field. >> i didn't die that day on october 3rd, i was meant to do something more in my life.
>> this is the captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news." >> jeff: and good evening, everyone, i'm jeff glor. after months arguing from a distance president obama and mitt romney meet face-to-face on wednesday. their first debate. it's scheduled for denver. 90 minutes focusing on domestic issues. nancy cordes is on the campaign trail tonight in las vegas, nancy, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, jeff. and to give you an idea of just how much is riding on this first debate the president is here in nevada for three full days but he's only holding one rally tonight at this las vegas high school. the rest of the time he'll spend cramming for the debate and governor romney will be doing the exact same thing in denver. the president chose to do his debate preparation in a battleground state, nevada. and this is where he will be holed up at the westin lake resort in henderson outside las vegas. and this morning on abc
obama campaign strategist david plouffe tried to lower expectations. >> now challengers tend to do really well in debates. that's been the history. we believed all along that governor romney probably has more benefit out of this debate than we do. >> reporter: chris christie told "face the nation"'s bob schieffer he expects romney to turn in a game-changing performance at wednesday's debate. >> thursday morning you are all going to be scratching your heads and saying wow, we have a barn burner now for the next 33 days. >> reporter: node on fox news, his running mate paul ryan admitted the campaign has had some challenges. >> first of all, 47%, mitt acknowledges himself that was an inarticulate way of describing how we are worried in that stag nato bama economy more people are dependent on government. >> despite being down in most polls ryan said the gop ticket will eventually win over voters who are frustrated by a stagnant economy. >> given that we are going to win this. >> reporter: and romney has a lot to gain from a debate says cathleen hall jameison.
>> the challenger has the opportunity to establish he is competent to stand up and hold his own against the president of the united states. a challenger who accomplishes that, in effect, wins the first debate. >> reporter: romney las been studying for the debates since june, the last month he has even been traveling with his obama stand-in, ohio senator rob portman who has joined him on his plane and campaign bus. the obama campaign contends romney has prepared more than any candidate in recent history. >> he's been a good debater in the past. he's very prepared. he's got all these clever zingers and lines in his pocket some we understand he will probably have a good night on wednesday. >> reporter: obama campaign observations have been trying to convince us for weeks that the president simply hasn't had much time to prepare for these debates. that he's been sidetracked by the every day demands of governoring. it is a time-honored that decision when it comes to debates, skbref, try to set the bar for your own candidate so low that even a halfway decent performance comes across as a win.
>> jeff: nancy cordes, thank you. one of the most hotly contested states is nevada where unemployment is at 12.5%. the highest in the nation. polls show that presidential race there is extremely close. the fight is for those three percent of voters with who remain undecided. here's bill whitaker. >> are you better off now than you were four years ago? >> no. >> reporter: single mom and nevada native erica peplowski admits she sounds like a grim statistic from her economically distressed state. >> house in foreclosure no job. >> yes, i'm the 47%. i'm on food stamps, and medicaid. so i am one of those people. >> reporter: four years ago she was swept up by the tide of enthusiasm around candidate barack obama. >> i was an obama mamma. and i was proud to claim that. >> reporter: not so much now. >> not so much. i'm not as enthused. >> do you think romney could
be that change? >> it could be a change. i just don't know if it will be for the better. >> i would say knox, i'm not better off now than before. >> reporter: single dad omar lopez came to the u.s. from colombia 13 years ago. now a u.s. citizen, he owns a real estate business in las vegas, surviving one of the most depressed housing markets in the country. he supported president obama four years ago. >> we have to downsize. >> reporter: he too has grown disillusioned. >> reporter: what are governor romney's strong suits to you? >> his business side of view. and he knows how to make money. and our country needs to start making money. >> reporter: still mitt romney has yet to win this businessman over. lopez wants specifics, which tax loopholes will romney close, what will he do about immigration. >> you're holding out making a decision? >> i'm still holding out, yes. >> reporter: that's why president obama was back in nevada today. both candidates are battling hard for this battleground
state. on the ground to get out the vote, carpet bombing the airwaves with political ads. >> my plan will create 12 million new jobs over the next four years. >> it's not just going to generate more jobs, going to create one more million jobs, tell me how, where. >> today it could be obama, tomorrow it could be romney. i can't promise anything. >> reporter: peplowski and lopez both hope the debates will help them finally make up their minds. bill whitaker, cbs news, las vegas. >> jeff: in afghanistan a fire fight today claimed the lives of two american, a u.s. service member and civilian contractor that happened in eastern wardak province. three afghan soldiers also died, and afghan army official calls it a misunderstanding between nato-led forces and afghan soldiers manning a check point. in iraq at least 26 people were killed in a series of coordinated car bomb attacks. nearly 100 others were hurt.
no one has claimed responsibility. but one official called it a rallying cry by sunni extremists trying to undermine confidence in the shiite led government. nearly 200 iraqis have died in sectarian violence there this month. in syria a new wave of attacks erupted today as rebels battled government forces once again. aleppo, syria's largest city, has been the site of fierce fighting this weekend. holy williams has more. >> reporter: the syrian rebels are targeting the government's airbases. this video was posted on-line and claims to show opposition fighters firing at a military airport just outside of aleppo. their goal is to weaken the regime's air force. government warplanes have bombarded rebel positions, and their lightly armed opposition is normally powerless to stop them. but much of the fighting is still at street level. this internet video appears to come from where the rebels and regime are
fighting for control of city blocks. and this is aleppo's med evil market, part of the world heritage set a blaze during fighting and now reduced to a charred skeleton. opposition groups say that syria's bloody civil war has claimed more than 30,000 lives. these bodies are said to have been discovered in damascus, a dozen men dead but we don't know who they were or why they were killed. the regime claims it can defeat the rebels. on syrian state television government soldiers showed off what they said was an opposition armed cache hidden in a drainage canal in damascus. and this officer said his heroic troops had defeated rebel fighters and now have this aleppo neighborhood under control. but syria is spiraling out of control. and the opposition outgunned
seems dedetermined to fight on. cbs news. >> jeff: heavy weather caused widespread devastation in southern japan today. typhoon jellawatt raked the coast with torrential rains and then slammed stock-- tokyo, across the country thousands were evacuated. in paris thousands of protestors marched to let lawmakers know they oppose any new austerity measures. the rally staged by a coalition of left-leaning groups comes in advance of french fiscal debates this week. in spain riot police dispersed angry demonstrators in nighttime clashes. it was the third day in a week that tens of thousands were also protesting against austerity measures. coming up on tonight's "cbs evening news", a battle scarred war veteran fulfills a promise to a fallen friend. learning mandarin becomes a must in one u.s. school district. and political ads, colorado weighs in. choosing advil®.
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>> tomorrow is the first monday in october, the opens date for the u.s. supreme court. a record six of the nine justices attended the traditional church service known as the red mass in advance of the new term. among the topics on the court's docket this fall, affirmative action, same-sex marriage and the voting rights act. the courts citizens united ruling two years ago unleashed a record flood of political spending this year. with four weeks still to go, more than half a billion dollars has been spent on ads eclipsing-- eclipsing the total spent four years ago. barry peterson reports some voters in colorado are fed up. >> romney paid just 14% in taxes last year on over 13 until in income. >> obama wages war on coal while we lose jobs to china. >> they blow everything out of proportion, both sides. >> i push mute. >> reporter: in colorado alone 47 million dollars in five months has been spent by the obama and romney
campaigns and groups supporting them. but come november, people here will be able to tell the rest of the nation just how they feel about enduring all those tv ads. >> let me get your e-mail address. >> reporter: he got amendment 65 on the ballot, if passed the state's congressional delegation would be required to propose an amendment to the u.s. constitution limiting campaign contributions and spending. allena nunez is executive director of colorado common cause. >> the result is a democracy that really distorts the voice of ode people in favor of those who can write multimillion dollar checks. >> billionaire was argue they have the same rights, freedom of speech of anybody else. >> free speech protects our right to say what we want but it shouldn't give people the right to shout louder than the rest of us. >> reporter: the unlimited ads spending started after the u.s. supreme court's 2010 ruling that restrictions on campaign contributions were also restrictions on freedom of speech. citizens united, which won
that supreme court case, opposes the colorado initiative. a statement provided to cbs news warns, what the colorado referendum does is chill free speech. and gives incumbent politicians an inherent advantage. although colorado voters are expected to pass the referendum by a big margin, public opinion consultant eric sondermann provides a reality check. >> it has no binding effect it is simply what i call a postcard to congress. >> i'm -- >> which means the ad barrage will continue. as will the debate. this kind of unlimited spending free speech at its best? or at its worst? barry peterson, cbs news, denver. >> jeff: next on tonight's "cbs evening news", a new subject for kids, all part of a new world order. well, i had all the classic symptoms...
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>> jeff: a failing school district in macon, georgia, where half of the students failed to graduate has taken drastic steps to turn the system around. and as mark strassmann reports tonight it includes
an unusual mandate. >> reporter: at sunny carter elementary school these third graders are learning the most widely spoken language on earth. mandarin chinese. >> and this is-- wx learning mandarin now mandatory in macon, georgia, public schools. >> what is the word for hello. >> niho. >> mark has mandarin class three days a week taught by one of 25 chinese teachers sent there from china. their salaries partially subsidized bit chinese government. >> i just like learning new things. i like learning the words. it's just awesome. >> reporter: within three years all 25,000 kids in bibb county schools k through 12 will be making mandarin. this is a school system that is one of georgia's low east chiefing, where half the kids drop out. >> this is about opening their world. >> romaine dalemand the new superintendent wants big changes for this troubled system. >> this is about preparing
our students to compete in a 21st century, multiethnic global economy. >> reporter: he's haitian born and spoke only creole when he came to america in the 9th grade. and he made mandarin mandatory over the objections of many macon parents. >> no one has been able to convince me or anything that i've read has been able to convince me that this is the way, this is the language, this is the avenue that the schools need to take. >> reporter: sandy parker wants options for chandler, her second grader. her choice for him would be spanish, not mandarin. >> is mandarin really the priority at this point in the school system where so many kids are struggling with english. >> absolutely. and mandarin is one piece of the macon miracle. >> reporter: the district is investing $2.76 million in the macon miracle that is what he is calling his plan for sweeping change in the classroom with an emphasis on math and reading. >> how many more students should we lose as a community before we do
something fundamental to improve our students performance. >> reporter: and while not everyone has an ear for the language of change, so far just two unhappy parents have pulled their kids out of mark fuller's mandarin class. mark strassmann, cbs news, macon, georgia. >> jeff: los angeles dprifers know it as the 405. this weekend it was shut down cutting off the nation's busiest highway, the drivers so an overpass could be demolished and carpool lane added. despite a baseball game and triathlon today, all went well. it was not the carmegeddon part 2 that officials had feared. another unusual transportation note from off the coast of california, a man named dean o'malley flew his jet pack 26 miles across the sea to catalina island, a record distance for a jet pack ride. >> when outlaws bonnie and clyde went down in a heal of bullets in 1934, bonnie park
her a .38 taped to her thigh, clyde a .45 in his waist. today those weapons were auctioned off in new hampshire. the bonnie and clyde guns sold to the same bidder for a total of $504,000. >> from the battlefield to the briz iron, a decorated combat veteran returns it to a long time goal, playing college football. a long time goal, playing college football. that story is next. turn an entrepreneur's dream... ♪ into a scooter that talks to the cloud? ♪ or make 70,000 trades a second... ♪ reach one customer at a time? ♪ how do you help doctors turn billions of bytes of shared information... ♪
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>> jeff: t >> jeff: three years ago this week one of the worst attacks of the afghan war took place. eight americans died. now one of the men injured on that day is back home and has moved from the battlefield to the football field. we end this broadcast with his extraordinary story. >> reporter: u.s. army sergeant daniel rodriguez found himself under attack constantly at a remote outpost in afghanistan. on october 3rd, 2009, he was injured in one of the bloodiest battles of the war. eight of his fellow soldiers were killed, including his best friend kevin thomson. >> we had a really close relationship. we shared a bond, we shared a room. i think about him all the time. >> jeff: rodriguez received a purple heart and bronze star with vallor for his actions that day but after leaving the military he struggled. >> i was an alcoholic. i resorted to a lot of alternatives as far as ptsd goes, obstacles were
definitely in the way on a daily basis. >> jeff: then rodriguez remembered a pact he made with thomson before his death. >> i made a promise to my best friend that was killed that i would play football and i committed myself to eating right, working out, quit drinking. >> jeff: last december rodriguez posted a highlight video on youtube. it went viral and got the attention of clemson head football coach dabo swinny. >> i really was just mesmerized because hi never really seen a video put together like that. >> jeff: despite not having played football since high school this 24-year-old, only 5 feet 8 inches tall, walked on and made clemson's football team. >> how does somebody go from rock bottom a year ago to where are you today? >> i didn't die that day on october 3rd because i was meant to do something more in my life. and now i have my buddies in the grave, pushing me to be the best i can be. >> jeff: how far a away does afghanistan feel right now? >> i think about it every day, what i went through, the friends i've lost.
but where i'm at now in my life trumps everything in a positive way. >> call force a fair catch. >> jeff: rodriguez is a starter on special teams and is trying to break in at wide receiver. >> here come the tigers. >> jeff: on september 8th, his first milestone. >> that first catch at ball state, tell me about it? >> you know t wasn't anything special. to me it was, and to like 80,000 fans it was, but in hindsight it was a four yard catch that got the fans crazy. i went in knowing i was going to get the ball. they called the play and i was like this is it. i was saying to myself, just don't drop it, you know. this is the reaction out of the crowd it just made me feel so humble. >> this may have been the most famous four-yard catch in the history of college football. >> yeah. >> your reaction? >> i was so excited for him, you know, to see him fulfill a deem. -- dream.
you know, here's a guy that two years ago, he is sitting in who knows where, bullets flying at him watching his best friend die and others die. >> jeff: daniel rodriguez may now be a world away from afghanistan, but he's still inspiring nis new band of brothers. >> i'm just trying to remain who i am, and keep that presence of why i'm doing what i am doing is for my buddies that were killed in action. and i want to be something that when i see them again, they're going to say hey, you know, you gave it your all, like, we're proud of you. >> jeff: that is the "cbs evening news" tonight. later on cbs, "60 minutes." i'm jeff glor, cbs news in new york. scott pelley will be here tomorrow. good night.